Sony Patents Vive like Tracking System for PSVR

Sony Patents Vive like Tracking System for PSVR 2

The world of VR has been divided into two camps, the one that is fully immersive such as Oculus and the HTC Vive, and the more accessible but less feature rich PSVR. That all could change following a patent application by Sony Interactive Entertainment for a lighthouse style VR tracking system. 

In the patent application, Sony outlines the concept as:

"A method for determining an orientation of a photosensor of a controller with respect to a projector is described. The method includes generating, by a beam generator of the projector, a beam. The method further includes modifying a direction of travel of the beam using a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) mirror that moves in a pattern, deflecting the beam, calculating a time at which the beam is detected and determining based on the pattern and the time an orientation of the beam to determine the orientation of the photosensor."

While it may sound confusing, it is basically outlining a similar device to what the Vive utilises — a beam projector that determines the player's position in the play-space based on light and mirrors (similar to the way sonar works). For those who do not know difference between an external system such as then HTC Vive, compared to what PSVR has built in; it all comes down to immersion.  At present, the PSVR employs a built-in system that relies on light from the headset and the PlayStation camera to place the player in the virtual world, offering little mobility for the player.

While there are downsides to an external tracking solution, the key point is it would be more accurate, and would place the PSVR in the same league as the Oculus and the Vive. While the PlayStation 4 may not match the power of a gaming computer with the latest technology, it would at very least give developers a similar toolset when porting games.

Sony Patents Vive like Tracking System for PSVR 3

It's unclear if Sony plans to use this patent with the technology that is already present in the PSVR, or if this is part of a plan for a PSVR 2, but it is great to see Sony pushing forward with VR, and not letting it die on the bush as many other projects have in the past. PSVR launched the fall of 2016, with overall good sales when compared to the Vive or the Oculus, but as of yet, have not managed to reach mainstream appeal.

  • Joe

    I just shelled out over 600 for psvr bundle when it launched, sounds like it will b superior to ps camara, hope it's compatible with psvr.!! And not just the psvr 2.0, if there is one

    • StygianAgenda

      likewise man.

    • Tim Popp

      It's worth it man. I had a little buyers remorse when I first bought it, but that immediately went away when I got it.

  • StygianAgenda

    I'd love to see this be more of a modular piece in an overall long term
    strategy that brings this to market for the PSVR, and sees it refined
    for future renditions.
    At the least, I'd like to see this combined with what we already have to increase overall body-scan/input.

    I
    saw earlier today that new VR gloves were debuted recently for Oculus.
    I hope that technology swiftly makes the jump to all VR platforms, and
    more-so, I'd like to see a strong standard in APIs emerge cross-platform
    to speed cross platform title releases.

    There's a lot riding on
    this, and I think too many media-sites give too little credit into what
    all is driving this. True, title releases are somewhat trickling out
    right now, but new releases pop up every week or two, often not
    announced until the actual launch to keep it under wraps so they can
    pull a sales blitz. I expect that as we move through the year, we'll
    see the release frequency increase significantly.

  • ThreeOlives

    "difference between an external system such as then HTC Vive, compared to what PSVR has built in"

    Uhh.... The PSVR does use an external tracking system... the camera is external from the headset. Oculus uses one or more cameras as well, just IR instead of visible light. If it were all internal then it would be inside-out like Tango or Oculus' prototype requiring no camera or the super-basic tripod-like tracking of GearVR/Daydream/Cardboard which has no positional tracking at all. If anything you would refer to the Vive's system as internal since the receptors are on the headset and the base stations are just light projectors with no involvement in data collection or calculation.

    That being said, I really hope Sony does come up with something better. I like my PSVR quite a bit but the tracking and move controllers are definitely the weakest point of the system.

    • Totally agreed. This weekend, I beat Resident Evil 7 on PSVR, and toward the end of my game (after I had been gaming for a couple of hours on and off), the tracking began to pop around a bit. Normally, this clears up by just killing the lights in the room as well as any ceiling fans --because they cause a strobing effect to be picked up by the cam; but last night it just didn't want to quit that. When that occurs, the best fix is a reboot of the PS4. But I've been noticing that this is happening quite a bit lately, and it may be something that can be fixed via a firmware update, but I'm not certain about that.

      One thing I've noticed is that when the PSVR and cam are running, if anything like network updates, or things of that nature kick in, it causes the rest of the system to start lagging. I think an easy fix there would be to suspend non-VR related functions, or at least drop them to a bare minimum while any VR application is active and foregrounded.

      I'm not sure if yet another device handling input at a high rate of detection is going to help or hinder system performance overall --but it's reasonable to assume that it very well may unless this new device *replaces* the cam, rather than augment it's capture capability. Afterall, if this device *can* replace the cam, then it'd be much more efficient to the system to not have to deal with the I/O of the cam otherwise --especially since video chat while in VR isn't exactly practical and the PSVR already has a built-in mic for audio chatting, negating the need for the cam to be attached for that purpose specifically. It'll be even more interesting if this device comes with an adapter to allow it to use the PS Camera port for I/O, so long as that port isn't the cause of the occasional lag I've seen... if that were the case, I'd much rather see the device simply be a USB device.

      Either way, I'm sure I'll have fun tinkering with it. 🙂

  • DevilDogA99

    This is why I'm sure allot of people haven't bought VR yet. Constant new teck. It's great but if they don't let it work with the old stuff, you get screwed. Hopefully they lit it work with new teck like Nintendo does with controllers.

  • Crazie Manga

    VR is here to stay and i brought a PSVR then a Oculus headset now im holding out for the next round of headsets, people like us putting money down with help VR move forward as without the consumers VR dead in the water, show your friends and family how cool this stuff is so more people get behind VR then we will see more stuff like VR movies and other media 🙂